Kochi/UNI: National Investigation Agency (NIA) has been in Kerala for a week looking for five persons alleged to have direct links to terror group Al-Qaeda unit in Pakistan.
It has managed to arrest three of them and was searching for the remaining two.
According to the NIA, all the three arrested from here are foreign nationals who had infiltrated into India through the Bengal border.
The trio were involved in raising funds for the south Indian module of Al-Qaeda, founded by Osama bin Laden.
About a month back, the Union Home Ministry received information that a terrorist attack was being planned on strategic locations, including the Naval Base and Shipyard here.
In addition to this, there were indications that the arrested persons were planning to carry out blasts in public places as well.
Al Qaeda's name was first heard in Kerala in the case of the hijacking and burning of a Tamil Nadu bus on the night of September nine, 2005, demanding the release of Abdul Nazer Mahdani who was then in jail in connection with the Coimbatore bomb blasts of 1998.
The anti-terrorist squad which initially investigated the case, said the main accused Thadiyantavide Naseer was the 'commander' of Al-Qaeda's south Indian module.
But an in-depth probe into the crime which took place before NIA was formed, could not be done. The case was later taken over by NIA, but it found no evidence of Al-Qaeda's links.